Let’s Talk About Beauty Pie

This was going to be a post on more fragrances by Frank Voelkl, who did the Olfactory tea scent I reviewed recently (as well as the wildly successful Glossier You.) The fragrance post is still being worked on, so today is about makeup; if that doesn’t interest you, see you next time for more perfume.

Why wear makeup at all these days; if you’re not seeing anyone, why bother?  Well…. nobody’s saying that about fragrance, are they?  (They no doubt are, and I don’t care.) I like playing with makeup, it’s fun.  More to the point though, all my meetings are now on Zoom, and I quickly realized how pasty and washed-out it makes me.  If anything, I wear more now than I did in real life, just to give my pale face some color and definition.

Several months ago I joined Beauty Pie, an online makeup and skincare outfit (they also sell candles, body products and fragrances.)  I found them because they have four perfumes by Frank Voelkl, plus a new mandarin one by Sidonie Lancesseur that sounds lovely; then I read a number of positive reviews of their beauty products. The idea is that you’re getting luxury goods at drugstore prices if you pay their monthly membership, kind of a buyers’ club. (You can shop there without joining, if you want just a couple of things, or no commitment.)  I was a little dubious, but hey – Frank Voelkl, plus it’s only $10 a month with a three-month commitment to get their members’ deep discount.  I figured if everything was terrible it’d still be a fun post to write. And then COVID hit, which made shopping online even more attractive.

Beauty Pie is the brainchild of Marcia Kilgore, whose previous ventures include Bliss Spa, Soap & Glory, and Fitflop, so she’s had some measure of success, to put it mildly.  Beauty Pie sources from the same producers of luxury makeup but sells under its own label.  And the members’ prices for makeup are crazy good, much of it under $10.  Have I mentioned the packaging? It is plain yet elegant, substantial and thoughtfully designed. (I just realized yesterday it reminds me a lot of Bobbi Brown’s packaging aesthetic, the glass and lettering.)  I use some drugstore products; a lot of their stuff is awesome.  But super cheap pans with plastic lids that break off (a pet peeve of mine) takes away some of the thrill for me, and it’s not a fab deal if it dries out or falls apart after a month.  I’m even more turned off by products from so-called “luxury” brands if they’re designed with the taste level of a nine-year-old girl for her Barbie dream home, all clunky shapes bedizened with filigree and Swarovski crystals.

You can browse to see if the general concept and lineup appeals, which is what I did before joining.  Their aesthetic is more natural, your-face-but-better rather than edgy/editorial, with a nod to current trends like dewy finishes and highlighters.  They stock loads of skincare, which is apparently hugely popular, but I have my routine pretty well established, so I’ve been focusing on the makeup.  I’ve done several orders, sampling different types of products.  I haven’t gotten anything I thought was a dud; here are some of my standouts, with links.

Wondercolour cream shadow stick – a $5 dupe for the cult favorite $29 Laura Mercier caviar sticks.  I have both brands, and I like the Beauty Pie ones better, frankly.  They wear longer, and I cannot get over the luxe packaging.  They’re great as a quick one-and-done shadow if that’s all you’re up for, or use them as a base for other eyeshadows.  This is one of their more popular products so they keep adding new shades.

Triple Beauty Liquid Luminizer  — this is new, a $5 gel-crème rather than a liquid – but sheered out it’s a dead-on dupe for another cult fave, Charlotte Tilbury’s $44 Hollywood Flawless Filter (I did a side-by-side comparison.) Dabbed and blended on top of your foundation, moisturizer, or on bare skin, it gives a lovely, soft glow.

The Luxe Shine lipstick – for me this is the perfect balance between a more structured lipstick and a crème gloss, and it goes on easy with no fuss.  It’s not too sheer, it’s not sticky, it doesn’t smell or taste like anything, it lasts, and the shades are so flattering.  My favorite thus far is the pinky-nude Master Sweet.

Superbrow pomade in Ash Brown – It’s an unusual formula, almost like a cream-to-powder eyeshadow; I was expecting something waxier with more hold, but I’ve largely quit using anything else to build up my sparse brows.  I apply with an angled brush and the color is perfect if you’re looking for a cool-neutral taupe (cool blondes and browns and silver-haired folks). It’s super quick, looks very natural, and it lasts.

As I said, you can shop there without joining – their excellent dupe for the $38 Charlotte Tilbury contour wand is $25.  Or you can join and pay the lower members’ price– in this case, a whopping $7.  A membership gives you a regular retail-price spending limit starting at $100 per month, and their members’ pricing is mostly $5 – $10 per item (prices aren’t hidden, and can fluctuate slightly depending on supply/demand.) I feel like explaining it sounds a lot more complicated than doing it.  Shipping’s around $8 so if you want to stretch your dollar, let your spending limit build for a couple months (it rolls over).  The company’s UK based; US customers are directed to a different part of the site where the prices are in USD.  At this time it looks like they only ship to UK and US but I could be wrong about that.

Here’s a referral code link that will get you one month free.  None of this is sponsored, I bought everything myself, if you use the code I don’t get any income out of it, they just raise my limit so I can throw more dollars at them.  Seems fair.

Are you wearing makeup these days? What’s your favorite item right this second? (I read comments!) Have any of you tried Beauty Pie?  Any favorites (or hard passes?)  Next time: those perfumes!

  • Alityke says:

    The skin care ranges are stunning! Better than many luxe high end stuff. I’ve now moved to BP skincare. Why spend more? My fave is the Qi moisturiser & the SPFs.
    The eyeshadow sticks are my makeup go to. I have them all. The mattes are the best primers for powder shadows.
    I have the Lime, the Mandarin & the musky Love fragrances too.
    BP is a massive hit all round with me

  • rosarita313 says:

    Oh, just reading this is soothing. I ended up in the ER Monday with a whopper case of bronchitis, I coughed so hard I cracked a rib last weekend so I have been looped on steroids and pain meds. I don’t like to wear makeup at home because I don’t find it that comfortable and I sweat like crazy at the hairline in the summer, esp with the mask so I’m not wearing makeup outside my house either. I do have a couple Zoom meetings every week for which I put on a full face. I miss lipstick the most. In cooler weather I’m planning to do eye makeup when I’m out in public and I’m in the market for some cream eyeshadow, the Beauty Pie shadow sticks might be perfect. And I just sold a bunch of stuff on Poshmark…I think I’ll go for the three month commitment. Thanks, March! Oh, ps re hair color – at 61, mine is still dark but I have gone gray in the temples just since about Feb this year. I blame coronavirus but I’m fine with how it looks.

  • Musette says:

    since I don’t sweat much I have a bit of Summer Acne, alas – and makeup makes me break out even more (and ITCH!). So I only do brows (because otherwise I look like a scone) and a lip. If I’m going out I’ll throw on a bit of liner – but crop dusting is in full swing, so my eyes are watering all the time. Oh, well. But this sounds like a lot of fun! xoxox

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    It’s been too hot to go wearing any makeup. Last time I wore makeup, it was in April at my grandmother’s funeral. It was just Too Faced Better Than Sex mascara and Urban Decay lipstick. It’s funny how we wish for warm weather in January but when July comes, we want cooler weather.

    • March says:

      I’m sorry about your grandmother…. I wonder if what we crave is temperature moderation. Spring and fall. I’m always so happy to see them.

      • Musette says:

        I think in general we do crave temp moderation That’s why places like CA are so popular (again, my opinion – ymmv). A change of seasons is nice – but c’mon! -20F? That’s a bit of a CHANGE. Ditto 103F.


  • Cinnamon says:

    Only Zoom meetings I have are virtual yoga. I am very aware I look awful, but given the sweat and swinging hair I’m not that bothered (I really would love to get a haircut, but not happening in short term — colour is out of the question — my hair is currently around 5 different shades which I’m sort of liking …). I’ve read about Beauty Pie. Interesting. If I wore more makeup in normal times I would def be more curious as it sounds a very good offer.

    • March says:

      I have never been more grateful I let my hair go silver a few years ago …. the roots used to drive me nuts. I have several friends who’ve used this as the impetus to take the leap to undyed hair.

      • Musette says:

        I actually had to do the reverse – leave the silver and color the badgery parts blue-black. Otherwise I looked like a calico scone. It was tragic. Now I look like Cruella deVil, which is fab!

        • Cinnamon says:

          A calico scone? That’s an impressive description. I’ve just got dark brown and grey roots for the first couple of inches and then brown, blonde and red stripyness. Personally, I don’t think it’s that bad, but what do I know?

  • Dina C. says:

    I haven’t had daily zoom meetings, but I put on makeup anyway just to feel better about the face looking back at me in the mirror. I hadn’t heard about this company. Thanks for the heads up, March!

    • March says:

      You’re welcome, I have really enjoyed exploring the brand. I think I’m going to try a thing or two from their skincare.

  • Portia says:

    Heya March,
    Zoom is ALL about the lighting. If you’re going to be spending bunches of time in conference etc and you’re not going to grab a light ring then there are a few easy tricks.
    Got a desk light, really bright? Turn it and point it up at the joining of your wall and ceiling opposite you. It creates a really good, softening light that will sit perfectly on your cheekbones.
    Still looks cold and dead? On your wall where the light hits add some peach, pink or red paper/fabric and it will reflect diffuse colour onto you, like a spotlight gel.
    You can still wear some maquillage but you won’t need to do a drag face.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      Thanks Portia! Pre-COVID I didn’t have a home office (we are super tight on space) and now that it’s dragging on I bought a small desk but it’s in the living room. I actually do have a ring light which I use for my makeup, lol. I’m going to experiment with lighting placement. My office will be teleworking indefinitely for which I am grateful, not really feeling the subway or the long commute.

      • Portia says:

        Oh, and another good idea is to video yourself reading something on your phone then upsize it to your computer to see how it looks in LARGE SCALE. Quite often a good tiny look will upscale to Frankenstein’s bride.
        Good luck.
        Portia xx

  • matty1649 says:

    I haven’t been wearing make up in the house…..alone. Looking in the mirror perhaps i should !!!!!!
    The few times I’ve ventured out I’ve got make up on.

  • Maggiecat says:

    This sounds tempting! Like you, I’m pale and Zooming a lot, and am wearing more makeup than usual ( and I was no slouch before). Skin care ( sheet masks! exfoliants! essences!) has also been a priority, and fun to play with. I’m keeping my makeup bag in my office now, and putting it on is part of my Zoom lecture prep. Interesting times…

    • March says:

      The first time I saw myself on zoom I thought: my g-d I look like I’m dying. The AMOUNT of blush I’m wearing on camera is comical. I have a blush palette and lipstick (and a mirror) sitting next to my work laptop now, at my desk in my home “office” (middle of living room lol) so I can slap it on right beforehand if necessary.